Better bike, pedestrian safety sought

Posted: November 29, 2012

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — A regional planning organization will proceed with analyses of 31 intersections and the roads around them in Winchester and Frederick County, in an attempt to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

John Callow, a senior principal engineer with the transportation planning and engineering firm Kittelson & Associates Inc., presented the results collected so far from a Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Analysis Study to the Winchester-Frederick County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s policy board during a meeting Wednesday morning.

Through a combination of a stakeholders meeting, open house and online information gathering, the MPO and Kittelson have selected a list of intersections in the city and county that will be analyzed for ways to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

After the meeting, Callow said the intersection analysis, data collection and recommendations that Kittleson will bring back to the MPO should take about six weeks. The analyses will look at traffic flow, how intersections are constructed and any road issues leading to the intersections.

“Everything that occurs within the public right of way,” Callow said about the study’s scope.

Karen Taylor, a senior project and operations manager with the MPO, said after the meeting that the analyses and bicycle and pedestrian study will help give the group a plan of action to take to government bodies — like the Frederick County Board of Supervisors and the Winchester City Council — when it comes time to implement safety measures.

“That’s why we’re doing this, to have a plan and recommendations [so] the Board of Supervisors, the City Council, can take a look at the recommendations and [start] planning for the bike and pedestrian facilities,” Taylor said. “It’s not the MPO going to the boards, we have these planning studies to help out the [City] Council, the Board of Supervisors.”

Also at the meeting, the MPO policy board approved making amendments to the group’s Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) available for a public comment period.

The work program is an annual document that guides the MPO’s work for each fiscal year, and the amendments are primarily minor changes, according to Taylor.

The UPWP, the proposed amendments to it and an email address to submit comments to is available online at winfredmpo.org/upwp.asp.

Attending the meeting in the Frederick County Administration Building were Chair Richard Shickle and members Charles DeHaven Jr., John R. Riley Jr., Dale Iman, John Willingham, Michael Kehoe, Randy Kiser, Lisa DuMetz-Rosier, Terry Short, Tim Youmans, Mack Frost and MPO staff members Martha Shickle, Karen Taylor and John Madera. Members John Hill, John Simkins, Tony Cho, Rusty Harrington, John Bishop, Jimmy Martinez and alternates Brian Henshaw, Les Veach, Kris Tierney and Perry Eisenach were absent.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com